Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge: Pizza

I was really excited when I found out that this month's challenge was homemade pizza. I have a pizza dough recipe that I have been using for a long time now but I don't know it just isn't the same anymore. So I have been looking for a new one and I have also been experimenting with the old one.

I had planned to make this for dinner one night but we went out instead which was ok since you can leave to dough in the frig for up to three days. Which ended up being perfect because we were having some friends over to watch the football games. I wanted to get a picture of all of us taking turns tossing the dough but it just didn't work out that way. We were way too hungry to take pictures. I did manage to get a picture of one pizza that came out awesome...chicken with black bean salsa.

Review: My husband really liked the taste of this dough and I think that was because the flavors had time to develop in the refrigerator. Since the dough I usually make only rises for 1 hour this was in there for 2 days. The only little problem I had was that I felt like I added a lot more flour when kneading it because it just seemed too wet. I have to say this recipe was fun to make and yummy but not my replacement pizza dough recipe. I need one I don't have to plan ahead to make or take out of the freezer to defrost. I will definitely make this again since the dough flavor was very good!

Please visit our host for this month's challenge Rosa's Yummy Yums for the full recipe.

P.S. October marks my one year membership with the Daring Bakers . Below are pictures of each challenge I completed from last year. June I did attempt to make but failed and so there was no picture. July I did not make due to the fact that I had really bad morning sickness and the thought of making a cake totally grossed me out.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thinking Ahead for Once...

This past weekend we decided on our next Holiday Cookie Baking Day. It got me thinking about what I wanted to make this year. Of course on my list is my sugar cookies which I wouldn't be allowed in my in-laws house without them. I also have to see what this December's challenge will be for the Daring Bakers. Last year's Yule Log was a great addition to the Christmas dinner table. I will also have to figure out how many people are coming so I don't make more then we can eat.
So here is my first attempt to making something to add to my list of things to make.

Caramel Popcorn
14 cups freshly popped popcorn (made from about 1/2 cup popcorn kernels)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, plus additional for greasing
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Toasted Nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 250F. Lightly butter a large baking sheet; spread popcorn and nuts (if using) on sheet. Keep warm in oven.

2. Mix butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt in a small saucepan; stir frequently until simmering and sugar dissolves. Clip a candy thermometer to the inside of the pan and continue cooking undisturbed until temperature reaches 248F (firm-ball stage).

3. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. The mixture will roil vigorously; continue stirring until smooth.

4. Drizzle sugar mixture evenly over popcorn mixture; toss well with flat metal spatula or spoon.

5. Bake 45 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet, then store in a covered container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Review: Oh my goodness...I am in love with this popcorn. Not only was it simple to make but it really came out well. I had to put it away so I didn't eat it all before Mike got home from work. I think it is something I am going to defiantly make for the holidays but I want to see what Mike says about it. I think you can total jazz it up by adding the nuts and even chocolate covered nuts. One thing that was sort of weird about it was it felt greasy but that could have been because it was still on the warm side when I was eating it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

KAF Challah

I think it was about a month ago that we had to order something from amazon. Of course I was in one of those situations where I only need $0.65 more to get the free super shipper savings. I really did try hard to find something cheap to get but nothing I wanted/needed qualified. So I decided that if I had to spend more money that I would get something I would enjoy. It wasn't hard for me to decide on getting a new cookbook and it was even easier for me to decide on what type of cookbook.

I am continuing or should I say expanding my love for King Arthur Flour. I bought the cookbook King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion which is an amazing cookbook. It has everything any baker begging or advanced would want to know how to make. I have been wanting to make something from it ever since I got it but time wasn't on my side.

Then I decided this past week was perfect time for me to break it out because of the Jewish Holiday Yom Kippur. The night before you are suppose to fast my mom has always made a very nice meal for the family. So I decided to do the same for my family this year and knew just the right thing to make from KAF...challah.

After the first rise and braided for the second rise

Fresh out of the oven

Review: I am in love with this bread and I really can't wait to make it again. It was so easy to make and the results were amazing. I do need to practise my braiding technique and try different kinds (the one above is a four strand braid). The only thing is you need to have time on your side because from beginning to end it takes about 4 hours or so depending on how fast your dough rises. I have eaten a lot of challah in my life time and this was one of the best (mostly because I made it). It wasn't really sweet like some you get from the store are which I liked. It was really good for breakfast toasted with a little butter and honey.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cream Filled Cupcakes

Sunday we threw my brother and his fiance an Engagement party. My sister and I were pretty much in charge of all the preparing of food and desserts. We each made 2 salads a piece and I made all the desserts. I decided to make cupcakes (enough to feed 60+ people). Amanda's colors for her wedding are yellow and blue, so of course thats the color of the icing I made. To be a little different, I thought I'd try to stuff each cupcake with icing ( like a hostess cupcake ). I thought they came out AWESOME!! Rusty loved them =). Next time I might try stuffing them with more of a pudding or custard, instead of icing. I thought they were a little too sweet.

To actually stuff them was simple enough. First I used a regular cake mix and baked the cupcakes according to the box directions. After they were completely cooled, I used the smallest tip of a decorating kit and poked a hole right thru the paper liner on the bottom. Then I used the larger circle tip and squirted the icing into the whole already made in the bottom of the cake. Worked great =).

I'd definally make these again!!!


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